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Absinthe in Boston?

i hear that they are now importing (and manufacturing) Absinthe to the US.
i also heard that Kingston Station is serving this liquor.
anyone know of any place serving, and if they do, do they do the thing with the special spoon and let the Absinthe drip through the sugar cube into spring water?

related story:

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  1. How "real" is this stuff though? I mean the stuff that was being imported was already massively reduced in content vs. what was consumed 100ish years ago, did they just weaken it again? Is this just basically overpriced chartreuse? :)

    (This also isn't getting into the issue of whether or not the active ingredients actually do what people claim they do, or if it was just a screw job from the start)

    3 Replies
    1. re: jgg13

      I know that Kappys on Rt.1 in Malden has at least two types of Absinthe available. From what I have read, the law states the Absinthe must have 0% of Thujone but that 0% actually allows some minute amount of Thujone, some like 10 parts in a ten thousand, or maybe more.

      1. re: RichardA

        Which is funny considering that (IIRC) vermouth has the small amounts of the stuff too.

      2. I had Absinthe at Deep Ellum in Allston. They burned the sugar cube on the spoon and let the caramel drip into the Absinthe with water served on the side. I have since learned that this is not traditional, the water should be dripped through the sugar cube on the spoon into the Absinthe. Their version was fun and good nonetheless. Reminded me of Pernod but I haven't done a side by side comparison (there's an idea!).

        1. I really don't need to know this. ;-b What time does Kingston Station open?

          1. The "absinthe" they serve in the U.S. is a joke.

            Has zero to almost-zero thojone content.

            The brand I buy online, Zele, is far more powerful both alcoholically, and wormwood-wise: 75.5% alcohol (151 proof), with 111 mL of thujone per kilogram. That's compared to about 0-9 mL of thujone per kilogram in the stuff they serve here.

            1. No 9 Park also has the legal Absinthe; I was there last night and had a drink made with it - a new cocktail called Mort Vivant that's not yet on the menu. It was excellent, a take on the Corpse Reviver.

              Here's an article that discusses the thujone-wormwood info and why the American-made absinthe is legal.

              Barely Legal: American Absinthe Passes the Taste Test

              BTW, I've had 'real' illegal absinthe once a few years ago when someone brought it in from out of the country as a gift for a local chef. It's mighty powerful stuff and really high proof, and it's said that it's not hallucinogen-inducing unless you drank bottles of the stuff. BTW, the same person who shared some of his absinthe also loaned me the book "Hideous Absinthe: a History of the Devil in a Bottle". Really a fascinating read. The higher the thujone content, the more bittter the absinthe, and hence why it was classically poured over a sugar cube.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Rubee

                The absinthe sold in the States has nothing to do with the illegal stuff. It's been on the shelves for years. I'd keep your money and buy a good pastis.

              2. see, there i go getting my hopes up. Dang!

                1. according to this:


                  it looks like we are getting the real deal.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: ScubaSteve

                    It is definitely absinthe, though Kubler has the minimum amount of thujone to be approved by the US - below 10 mg/kg. I think Kubler is what they have at No 9 Park.

                    1. re: ScubaSteve

                      It's "real," but not really, if that makes any sense. As Rubee says, Kubler is officially absinthe, but has only trace amounts of Thujone. Which makes it sort of "AbsintheLite."

                      1. re: Bostonbob3

                        Kubler may be low in thujone, but it is a delicious product. I notice that Brix is now carrying it.

                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          You're right! Brix does carry it now and their November Brix Mix contains it and all the other ingredients you need to make a Sazerac!

                    2. Since it seems a fair amount of people are interested in absinthe, here's a site I have bookmarked, and that's invaluable for understanding the Green Fairy:


                      1. The new restaurant in the South End, Gaslight is serving an Absinthe concoction of that nature

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Boston Scene

                          I've had that drink: it's called la La Fée Verte ("the green fairy", a synonym for absinthe). But it's made with Absente (which the menu misspells as "Absenthe"), an American pastis, not absinthe, plus gin and Grand Marnier. It's very tasty, nonetheless.

                          Absente tries to pass itself off as real absinthe, but it uses southern wormwood (Artemisia abrotanum), whereas purists only consider spirits distilled with grande wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) to be real absinthe.

                          On another note, Bostonbob3's website is very interesting, and effectively says that thujone content is utterly irrelevant to absinthe quality, as it has none of the psychoactive properties commonly attributed to it.

                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                            On your last paragraph, the last I read up on the matter it was largely believed (scientifically that is) to be a bunch of hogwash but the jury was still out (perhaps driven by people who choose to believe it is true? Who knows).

                            The same belief was that the so called 'absinthism' that drove a lot of the hysteria about the drink many moons ago was nothing more than the sort of deleterious effects one would see from drinking extremely high proof alcohol in decent quantities day in and day out.

                            1. re: jgg13

                              In the books about absinthe I've read, that's what I've understood too.

                              BTW, I understood that last paragraph on the wormwood site to mean that the common misperception is that the best absinthe has the most wormwood and, as that website points out, the highest concentration is irrelevant to quality. However, IMO, the distinctive aggressiveness of wormwood is inherent to the qualities and taste of a good absinthe. While Kubler is certainly a great price and tasty product (and the only legal absinthe in the US with any thujone at all), I found it more anise-forward, and missing that distinctive wormwood "bite" and flavor of a classic absinthe. Then again, I haven't tried more than 4-5 absinthes, and I remember one in Europe being downright horrible, but I remember how impressed I was with the one that I thought was excellent. Here are some tasting notes re: Kubler from the same site:


                              1. re: Rubee

                                Rubee, I think you hit the nail on the head. Does wormwood/Thujone have "strange, psychoactive" powers? No idea really. I will say that real absinthe certainly gives me a different drunk than any other booze. And thujone is clinically proven to be a hallucinegenic in certain quantities.

                                But no matter, the wormwood IS essential to the overall ansinthe experience and taste.

                                Absinthe without wormwood is kind of like beer without hops. Not a perfect analogy, I know, but you get my point.

                                1. re: Bostonbob3

                                  But then, I think I have "strange psychoactive powers" all the time. ; )

                                  (adding links In response to the OP's original question):

                                  No 9 Park
                                  9 Park Street, Boston, MA 02108

                                  Kingston Station
                                  25 Kingston Street, Boston, MA 02111

                                  Lucca Restaurant
                                  226 Hanover St., Boston, MA 02113

                                  Deep Ellum Bar
                                  477 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134

                        2. Pardon the interruption, but please keep the discussion here focused on where to find Absinthe in Boston. If you want to discuss Absinthe generally, please post on the Spirits board - there are also a couple of ongoing threads there about Absinthe that you might find helpful.


                          1. I have heard the Absinthe myth is an urban legend, but have to say a recent experience at Styx on Stanhope street in Boston leads me to believe otherwise. I understand that varying degrees of Thujone are present in different brands of Absinthe; based on my experience the ones served at Styx were on the higher end of the spectrum. Granted I had a bit to drink beforehand, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The bartender poured it in very traditional manner(sugar cube, spoon, etc.) and the bar- very cool setting- added to the mystique.

                            1. Anchovies on Columbus Avenue has absinthe and the special serving equipment (special spoon for the sugar, spigot for distilled water, etc..). Thankfully, they still have plently of Beefeater available too. :-)